Peak Chemist Takes Eliot Award

Arlene Blum '66 awarded at Reunions.

March 1, 2015

Reed is proud to announce that mountaineer, chemist, and environmental advocate Arlene Blum ’66 will be honored with the Thomas Lamb Eliot Award, recognizing distinguished and sustained achievement by a Reed grad, at Reunions in June.

Arlene has led expeditions to the world’s most challenging mountains, including Nepal’s Annapurna I—an adventure chronicled in her award-winning book, Annapurna: A Woman’s Place. She is also a groundbreaking chemist; she established that a flame retardant widely used in children’s pajamas was mutagenic (the chemical was later banned from children’s clothing). In 2013, she was instrumental in preventing the same flame retardant from creeping into pillows and bedding sold in California.

Arlene is a visiting scholar in chemistry at UC Berkeley and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, which brings together government, industry, scientists, and citizen groups to support chemical policies to protect human health and the environment.

She was selected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was chosen by the U.K. Guardian as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women and by the National Women’s History Project as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet.” She also was elected to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. 

The trustees held a special dinner with Arlene over Working Weekend to celebrate her achievements. She also gave a public lecture titled “A Life of Mountains and Molecules.”

Tags: Sports & Adventures, Alumni, Awards & Achievements, Research